Wednesday June 12th, 2024 9:46PM

Cause of Buford fire that destroyed 86 boats still undetermined

By Ken Stanford Contributing Editor

 Fire Investigators spent much of Sunday afternoon sifting through the charred debris at Buford Dam Road Boat Storage in Buford, looking for clues about the early morning fire that destroyed 86 boats and four vehicles. 

"Per fire investigators, the blaze appears to have started in an area mid-way down the building between two boats and a pull-behind camper," Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Tommy Rutledge said Sunday afternoon.  "The exact cause of the fire is still undetermined and is under active investigation."

Rutledge says a steady flow of people who have boats or RV/campers that were destroyed by the blaze stopped by the business Sunday.

Buford Dam Road at Little Mill Road was blocked until late in the afternoon because of fire equipment and hose lines in the roadway.

 Fire crews left the scene around 2:30 p.m. and the road was reopened. A fire truck will check back every few hours Sunday evening to make sure there are no smoldering areas.  

Rutledge said earlier Sunday a security guard at the business reported the fire about 5:20 a.m., saying flames were showing from several boat slips.

"Crews arrived to find heavy flames and smoke showing from about half of the large boat storage facility," Rutledge said.  "Firefighters requested additional units to respond and mounted a defensive attack to control the blaze and protect exposures.  The fire extended to the retail and office area and caused a collapse of the roof."

Rutledge added "There is a total loss to approximately 86 boats and 4 vehicles.  An adjoining motorcycle shop is also damaged."

He said there are three separate buildings (boat slips) on the property, but only the one boat slip building (the one connected to the office) is damaged.  No other boat slips or boats are involved.

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